Tag Archives: hibiscus

New Hair Strategies for the New Year (2018)

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I‚Äôll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

After so many setbacks in the last two years of my natural hair journey, I’ve decided to make a huge overhaul of my hair care regimen. I spent the last six months of 2017 donating, selling, gifting, and using up my hair “product junkie” hauls. In the past, when my fave beauty supplier or retailer had a “buy 2, get 1 sale” or a 50% off promo, I felt the need to indulge even if my beauty cabinet was already stockpiled with shampoo, conditioner, and hair moisturizer. I felt like it gave me a chance to discover and try new products that would hopefully become my holy grail for cleansing, styling, and growing my hair. More is better right? Well, not always …

Truth be told, I am my family’s resident “go-to” for natural hair care product recommendations and samples, so I didn’t just horde my “extras!” I also don’t believe in being wasteful. Consequently, even when a product didn’t work for me, I always tried to find a way to repurpose it in a new way, remix it with other add-ons (like Jamaican black castor oil, apricot oil, or sweet almond oil), or augment it in with other products (i.e., deep conditioner) until used up. However, if my hair simply hates a product all-together, I’ll usually gift it to a family member or friend and then try to sell the unopened multiples. If that doesn’t work, I’ll donate it to a good cause (e.g., homeless shelter for women and children).

Two years (and several dozens of products) later, I have yet to find the ultimate product(s) to care for my multi-textured mane. I am hair product holy grail-less! I’ve endured the last 24 months of a barrage of brutal testing and trying of new products only to conclude that my hair didn’t mind yet didn’t love most of them or hated them all-together. I tried so many products, in fact, that I didn’t even have the time, effort, or energy to even blog about them all! Some worked (but only temporarily), others just didn’t even deserve an honorable mention. As a result, I tried to remember the last time I believed my hair was healthy and growing. After much thought and reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was when I was DIYing most of my own hair products: from quick hair spritzes and leave-in conditioners to henna hair packs and hot oil treatments

The only reason I stopped was because I made the decision to go to grad school to pursue an advanced degree. As a result of my harried work:school life balance, it just became impossible to DIY any of my hair products (let alone to spend the time blogging about my hair victories and misadventures! I barely had time to work, go to evening classes, sleep, and eat (or bother doing much else other than group projects and countless research). Sigh ..

So, I started to do one of the things that I do best … research … I investigated various ingredients and hair care strategies. After a six-month long quest, I determined that an Ayurvedic-based hair care regimen would be best for me. Ayurveda’s natural approach to hair maintenance is what convinced me to make the swap from traditional on-the-shelf hair products that never seem to “take” to my hair. While I already practice some whole body care (e.g., exercising, clean eating, drinking plenty of water, etc.), I have started to become more aware of some vitamin and mineral deficiencies (e.g., iron) despite my healthy dietary habits. In light of this, one of my goals for this year is to focus on an improved hair lifestyle … using natural hair care products (or creating my own) … better monitoring my vitamin intake … maintaining healthy hair practices (see Hair Moisture 101, Hair Moisture 201, Hair Moisture 301, and Hair Moisture 401) … and the like.

In this way, by year’s end, I hope to strengthen, grow, and retain a healthier head of hair. Because I have multi-textured tresses (e.g., a combination of 3 different hair textures ranging from 3C to 4B) that is also extremely fine (small in diameter) and fragile (breaks easily even when being gentle with my hair), this is a challenge under the best of circumstances. However, I am hopeful that switching to natural products and hair care practices will help me to grow and retain greater length and, more importantly, strengthen my hair in such a way that it is less prone to breakage.

I have probably used up or given away about 80% of my stash. The remaining 20% is predominately made up of deep conditioners (that I plan to use for henna glosses) and a couple of other odds and ends (i.e., for when I travel). Here are some of the ingredients I have invested in that I can’t wait to start creating with (or taking) in the near future:

  1. Ayurvedic Powders: aloe vera, amla, bhringraj, cassia obovata, chamomile, fenugreek, henna, hibiscus, indigo, moringa, neem, rose petal, shikakai, and slippery elm
  2. Clays: bentonite clay and kaolin clay (for skin care)
  3. Essential Oils: bergamot, chamomile, cinnamon, clove, and ylang ylang. My essential oil collection already includes the usual suspects of tea tree, rosemary, lavender, and about a dozen other faves).ūüėČ
  4. Floral Waters: lavender hydrosol, rose hydrosol, and ylang ylang hydrosol 
  5. Humectants: glycerin and organic honey
  6. Oils: almond oilapricot oil, avocado oil, castor oil, Jamaican black castor oil, mango butter, rosehip oil, and unrefined shea butter
  7. Vitamins: iron and SugarBearHair Hair Vitamins

I am also considering purchasing some soaping supplies to make my own body soap and (maybe) shampoo, but I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and skittish, so we shall see! However, I bought two books for added instruction and encouragement: (i.) Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health, & Home, and (ii.). Simple & Natural Soapmaking.

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SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon or eBay), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie¬†promises to restore moisture to parched hair, reduce frizz, induce shine, detangle, and create healthy, bouncy waves, curls, or coils. Made from organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, organic mango butter, and hibiscus flower extract, this Curl Enhancing Smoothie, like all of SheaMoisture’s other products, DOES NOT contain parabens, phthalates, paraffin, mineral oil, DEA, petroleum, formaldehyde, or propylene!

 

Directions: Section hair and apply product sparingly to damp or dry hair. Do not rinse out. Style hair as desired. For best results, use as a styling cream for twist-outs, braids and wash-and-go styles.

Ingredients: Deionized Water, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut ) Oil*, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Magnifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter*, Persea Gratissima (Avacado) Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Silk Protein, Ammonium Salt, Melia Azadiratcha (Neem) Seed Oil,Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed oil, Sorbitol Esters, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B-5), Caprylyl Glycol, Essential Oil Blend, Lonicera Caprifolium (honeysuckle) Flower (and) Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Hibiscus Flower Extract

 

This Curl Enhancing Smoothie¬†definitely defined my curls and coils. I’m talking mega defined wash ‘n go, here! However, this hair smoothie¬†made my¬†hair extremely dry … I mean dry like straw in the height of summer in the South! Even when I used it with a leave-in, I had to moisturize my hair three times a day just to get the moisture retention levels of my hair back to normal. After a week of use, my hair became so dry, I actually became a little scared. I layered on my oldie but goodie S Curl No Drip Activator to revive my parched hair. Thank God that stuff never fails to leave my hair moisturized.

I initially thought the silk protein might be the troublemaker, but my low porosity hair doesn’t usually have problems accepting hydrolyzed proteins. I noticed that coconut oil is the third ingredient. I know, I know. This product is called the¬†“Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie,” but honestly after reading and hearing about everyone’s rave reviews, I didn’t think it would be a problem. My hair has hated coconut oil since the beginning of my natural hair journey. Clearly it still does! So, if you have low porosity hair or hair that has a huge dislike for coconut oil, I would use¬†this hair smoothie¬†very cautiously!

To prevent from wasting the remaining 95% of the¬†Curl Enhancing Smoothie¬†I had, I put several¬†tablespoons of the smoothie¬†into a smaller pump container and then added some rose water, glycerin, and apricot oil. It helped a lot but was still a little drying for my hair. So, I definitely think that whenever I use this, I will have to layer it over a heavy duty moisturizing leave-in to make sure my hair doesn’t become too parched by the end of the day. I really love the concept of SheaMoisture’s products: natural ingredients free of toxic ingredients like parabens and¬†formaldehyde. However, my hair just doesn’t seem to like the¬†leave-in or stylers I’ve tried by them thus far. I’ve been told they have a line specifically for low porosity hair that includes a shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in detangler, yet there’s no styler! So,the hunt for a holy grail styler that’s all-natural AND protein-free continues …

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